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Adoptive Father and Birth Father: Nature Vs Nurture
Episode 125th July 2022 • Family Twist • Corey and Kendall Stulce
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Have you ever wondered how much of who you are is shaped by nature versus nurture?

In today's episode of Family Twist, we dive into a thoughtful exploration of Kendall's relationship with his two fathers, Ruble and Scott, revealing the intriguing contrasts and surprising similarities between them. This episode unfolds a unique narrative that compares the differing influences of an adoptive and a biological father, offering a personal look into how these relationships have shaped Kendall.

Adoptive Father and Birth Father: Nature Vs Nurture

Listeners will gain from this episode:

  • A deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding family dynamics and identity in adoptive families.
  • Insights into how different parenting styles and environments can shape personal values and behaviors.
  • Reflections on the enduring impact of familial love, regardless of biological ties.

Tune in to explore how Kendall reconciles these two paternal influences in his life, gaining a richer understanding of himself and his heritage.

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Corey & Kendall Stulce (:

Welcome to Family Twist, a podcast about relatively unusual stories of long lost families, adoption, and lots of drama. I'm Corey. And I'm Kendall, and we've been partners for over 16 years. We celebrated Father's Day recently, and we thought this was a good time to talk about Kendall's two dads.

So this episode is similar to the one we did with Kendall's three moms, which was episode four. We thought it would be cool to talk about the similarities and differences between Kendall's two dads, sort of a nature versus nurture thing. So we've got your adoptive father, Ruble, and your birth father, Scott. And I think the biggest difference is probably their age, right? So Ruble would be how old now? He'd be 88. Okay. And Scott just turned 68.

Okay, so 20 years difference there. I know Scott has described himself as an hippie and I definitely don't see Ruble doing the same thing. No, he wouldn't have. My dad Ruble was, you know, a free spirit and pretty easy going, but it was probably from that different era where he thought the hippies were cool, but he probably would have felt a little bit too old to be one. I often think that it's difficult for me to think of Ruble.

as someone young enough to be my brother. But when I am around Scott, sometimes I feel like he feels like an older brother's age. Because he's only 16 years older than I am. Sure. Yeah. Definitely for you. I think when I'm around him, I feel like he's practically the same age as my dad. So my dad, we're still alive. I just have those vibes like they've got some pretty interesting similarities in there, too. We'll talk about that later. So both your dads, I think it's fair to say.

Very cordial, very friendly fellows. Very much. My dad, Ruble, was a mail carrier for 25 years. And so he knew my hometown like the back of his hand because he walked, it was a walking route in my hometown. I believe it's still the same way. They don't allow.

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mailboxes on the street. They're all on houses. So it's very labor intensive to be a mail carrier for there because you've got to go house to house, which it's funny in retrospect. I know that my dad really enjoyed because he was such a social person. He loved if people were home, he greeted him. He had conversations and at Christmas time we got gobs and gobs of cookies that people, you know, made for him and my mom. And it

was just a really social job for him. It's much different nowadays, you know, to be a letter carrier, but back then it was quite different. And gosh, anybody who even to till today meets Scott, they would say he's just, he's funny, he's charming, he's a goofball and people really enjoy talking to him. And they're both, fortunately for us, because we are as well, big music lovers. So you've talked about Ruble even introducing you to like some of your favorite.

artist to this day. Absolutely. And that actually is, it goes back to the fact that he was a letter carrier. So he had part of his mail route was on Main Street in my hometown. And there was a record store back in the seventies and the early eighties that he delivered mail to. And he always loved all kinds of music.

But it always surprised me that he liked popular music at whatever time it was. You would think a man in his forties wouldn't necessarily have been loving disco in the seventies, but he did and pop music in the eighties. And he bought me my first Madonna album. He bought me my first Durian album. He knew that I'd love it. I'm really fortunate. I had a parents that were really hip and trendy when it came to that sort of thing. Sure. Scott is definitely a classic rock kind of guy, which is great because that's.

one of my big loves too. And I mean, I'm like some classic rock as well. Yeah. So it's so interesting because that's one genre of music that my dad Ruble liked, but I wasn't exposed to as much as I became older. I listened myself. And so I really think it's cool to kind of connect with my dad, Scott on that level, because when he was at our house last, you might not have even been in the room, but he and I were.

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trying to figure out what we wanted to listen to. And I happened to cross CCR Credence Clearwater Rehabil. And I was like, I know you want to hear this, don't you? And he was like, absolutely. You know, we all jammed to it. It was fun. And so I love having those moments with him. And just from talking to my sister and brother, dad, Scott.

raised. I know that music was a big influence in their household. Right. Just like it was in my household growing up. Yeah. I think we both have that sort of music touchstone thing where like songs or artists or whatever bring back memories. And so you mentioned Creedence and let's always think of my dad, the same with my siblings here or camping or barbeque or whatever the Creedence song comes on, we're all get a little misty. Yeah. All three of our dads are very fond of a pack of cigarettes and a beer. Yeah. Although it's interesting, people that have heard previous

episodes of this podcast will remember that I talk about the fact that Ruble was very conservative when it came to religion. And it's interesting. He wasn't a closet smoker. He didn't.

brag about it, but he definitely was a closet drinker. He, I'm a recovering Southern Baptist that people take that as tongue in cheek as I mean it. But if you are familiar with that denomination, most people that are raised in Southern Baptist, we weren't allowed to play cards. We weren't allowed to dance. We weren't allowed to have a sip of an alcoholic beverage. Smoking was frowned upon too, but there are plenty of people who did it. Ruble, after my mom, Betty,

past, he started drinking very heavily, but it was all covert. Nobody knew that he was doing it. And to the point that he was at one point paying a package store. Look that up if you don't know what that is listeners, but they're probably not even around today, but there was a liquor store 25 miles from our house and he would pay to have liquor and beer delivered after dark so that people couldn't even see it being delivered to our home. No offense. Hometown.

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But that was the social pressure that was very palpable in my hometown. And he was a well -respected member of the community and a deacon in the church. So it really would have been a huge faux pas for him to be seen drinking. So sadly, what that did is alienated him more and more. Yeah. And he drank in the garage because even my stepmother wouldn't allow alcohol in the house. So she knew it was happening in the garage.

but he didn't even sit inside and have a drink. That's how, you know, and yes, I want to acknowledge that alcoholism can be a problem, but I mean, there was literally no room for movement from a social drinking perspective, zero tolerance. Whereas the stories that we've heard from your siblings, it would be odd to about see Scott hanging out in the yard with a beer in his hand.

Absolutely. So I respected it. It's interesting to me to hear that dichotomy, right? How when I tell Scott the way that Ruble lived like that, he's like, that's crazy. He should have been able to have a beer. And I said, yeah, but we were from this tiny town where it was really conservative and anybody who drank back then was considered a deviant. It was a different time. Right. It was, it's a different conservative Southern setting and.

Yeah. Lots and lots of stereotypes that sadly people bought into and Ruble did too, because he could be very outspoken about some things, but the fact that he liked a drink was never going to be something that he was going to feel comfortable talking about. Sure. Yeah. You've touched on the religious thing a little bit. Your dad, Ruble, was very much involved with the church. Whereas Scott, I don't think, put a lot of emphasis on going to church, although does identify, they both identify as Christian. Sure.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, Scott has great values and he, I don't know what he thinks about the afterlife and that sort of thing. But I mean, yeah, my dad and stepmother raised my brother and sister as Christian and, but they were the opposite. They were not going to church on Sundays and definitely weren't going to the multiple services that I was going to during a week and that sort of thing. And even.

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Scott and I laughed about, man, that was a lot, wasn't it? Like when I was telling him how often I had to go, he's like, why? And I'm like, you, your guess is as good as mine. You know, I don't know, but it was just, it was, again, it was a social thing and it was the expectation for certain members in this, in this community. It just was the expectation. Sure. Yeah. You mentioned your dad, Rube was a mail carrier for.

I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's a

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security in being a mail carrier. I don't think he loved the job, but he loved the fact that it was predictable. He was good at it. He enjoyed the social aspects of being a mail carrier. And my dad, Ruble and my mother, Betty, they were just planners. I've said this to you before that. Yes, they were married 17 years before they got me right before I was adopted. And

They didn't want to wait that long, but they also felt like they needed to be prepared. Most couples out of necessity have it happen differently, right? When you get married, you want to start a family and you do. That isn't the way it works for my mom and dad, Betty and Ruble, but they also felt that much more prepared when they did get me. They felt so much more financially secure than even some of their friends and didn't brag about it, but I know it gave them some peace.

to think that they had prepared as well as they could financially before I came along. And Scott was not in that situation. Scott got married to my stepmother when he was 17. So he was forced quickly into the, oh my gosh, I'm about to have a child, my brother, Chris, that listeners have already heard, and he needed to get himself together. And so it's a very different reason.

that things progressed as they did for both couples, but the end result was the same. They both had wonderful work ethic and were deeply committed to being a dependable employee who stayed for 25 years in one spot. So it's interesting in that we've experienced when since we've met your birth family, both sides, certainly the majority of them are more politically conservative than we are.

You've talked about how progressive your adoptive parents were. And I think we've seen Scott as a self -described hippie. I think he's a little bit more progressive than even some of the members of his family. Absolutely. Yeah. And I love that similarity between dad and Scott and Ruval and Betty because people on the surface would have probably looked at Ruval and Betty in this really small conservative Southern.

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town and thought they were conservative too, especially in conjunction with their being so religious and so involved in the church. But when it came to social causes, they were not conservative. I loved hearing my mother talk about wanting to help people who were not as financially stable as she was. This was a different time, right? In the South, especially, and it was rare in my hometown, which was racially diverse. It was rare for people to mix socially.

back then, and they were the couple that were going to parties where there were black couples and white couples and sure. And that was very, I didn't think of it as progressive because that's just what I experienced. But in retrospect, I know how progressive it was and I know how they were talked about at some points because they were socially progressive. And I'm proud of them for that because it was the right thing to do. And it was the right attitude to have. And they taught me.

the right things to do in my heart. That's the way I feel. Sure. And I feel like Scott and Hannah, my dad and stepmother who aren't still married, but I feel like that's the way they raised Chris and Monica. And I have a lot of respect for that too. Sure. I think it's fair to describe Scott as a free spirit. You wouldn't necessarily say the same about Ruth, right? No. And you have to stop and think. Most of his life before me was different because my mother wasn't sick back then. And

He was, he had a reputation for being the life of the party, just like Scott has that reputation, and a lot more easygoing. I think what's sad, I remember my dad Ruble before he became depressed. You have to stop and think that from the time I was six until the time that he died when I was 16, they, his life was either dealing with my mother's illness or her death or getting remarried.

or being a single dad for those two years between the marriages. And it's interesting, if you were to talk to his friends now about the way he was most of his life, they would have said, yes, Ruble was a free spirit. But I think what I remember so much is the opposite. I remember him struggling with depression and struggling with anxiety as a result of all these horrible things that he lived through. And I have a lot of respect for it. And I'm so thankful that Scott's...

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approach to life is probably a lot more like the way people describe Ruble before. My mom Betty's illness and death and all those tragic events. So I feel like at one point they were probably more similar, but the latter years of Ruble's life were more sad. Yeah, digging a little deeper into the nature versus nurture thing with you, and this is not to disparage.

Scott or anything like that. But I think just because of your unusual circumstance with your mother being ill when you were young and your parents trying to fit a lot of living and culture experiences in such a short time that you were at a young age, doing a lot of traveling, doing a lot of going to museums and seeing shows and just being exposed to a lot of different things. Yeah, you're right. And I didn't know at the time that my father Ruble was trying to fit so much in because my mom Betty was sick. I didn't know that.

I was young, right? All I remembered is how much fun we have on these trips, even though I can.

stop and think about how physically difficult it was for my mother to be on some of these trips, but it meant so much to her for me to have those experiences, for her to see me having those experiences. I love that. And I do have wonderful memories. The first time I saw the Green Canyon was with my parents and the first time I went to Yosemite and the first time I went to Yellowstone. So I have so many wonderful memories. And you and I've talked about this before. We laugh and say that maybe some of us from the South are

Midwest, maybe sometimes the reason we traveled more than other people seem to is that we were so landlocked and we wanted to get the heck out of Dodge. So I do find it odd, no offense New Englanders, but I'm shocked at the number of people that I meet here who've never been anywhere. I was speaking to someone in my office the other day and she's lived in Maine her entire life and she's never been to New York state. And I just find that.

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bizarre because it's literally just a couple of states away. And why wouldn't you want to go there just to say you've been there? But anyway, I just find that odd. And I was not raised like that at all. We went everywhere. I've now been, I've been to every state in the contiguous US states. I just can't imagine not getting to.

done those things. And I'm not saying that I wasn't financially able to, I was, right? So that of course is a piece of the pie, but we weren't having lavish vacations. We weren't staying in five star hotels. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the experience of getting out and seeing this great country. Yeah. I don't know what it is for some people. And if it's, they're just scared or rich, they just don't want to explore beyond their backyard. I don't know. I'm

never felt that way. And I grew up probably in a similar financial situation as to Scott and your siblings and that, you know, we didn't have a lot of extra money and we literally went to the same state park every summer. So my dad could fish and you can go swim. There were a couple of vacations outside of that, but I think that just made me want to explore more. Once I was able to like start traveling in high school and in college and never really stopped. Whereas your siblings having gone.

too far. No, I've gone on a couple of trips here and there. But I imagine there are a lot of people who think we're absolutely nuts for moving across the country twice. But that's us. I feel like I haven't traveled much. And I've traveled all over the US. But I might think about outside the US. I really haven't. But yeah, I just feel like if I can drive there, I'm probably gonna go. I don't want to seem elitist like, well, Kendall, that takes money. Of course it does. But I will say, I'm proud of my dad.

Ruble for trying to make those things happen when he knew that my mother was ill. What I found out after she died is that it wasn't that affordable for him to have done all those things, but he knew that it meant a lot to her. So he made it happen. Yeah. It's hard to say like, had you grown up in the same household as Chris and Monica, like how not being exposed to as much travel or, you know, going to the opera or something like that, like what you, you know,

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what your personality would be like as far as those types of things. Would you be content not leaving the coast? It is interesting. And one thing I will say about my adoptive parents is they just wanted me to have a breadth of experience, right? So they took me to sporting events, but they also took me to the ballet. And do you know what I mean? I can't imagine a more well -rounded sort of upbringing.

I just can't, aside from the religious stuff. But I mean, in general, like they were going to expose me to as much as they could. Right. Just to see what stuck, you know, what did I like? Right. I quickly decided that watching football makes me want to throw up and still does. It is what it is. I do love basketball. You know what I mean? So there. So some things did stick. I really respect the fact that my parents took the time and the energy and the resources that it took to kind of expose me to as much as they could. Right.

Right. So all that said, I mean, how do you see yourself as like the son of both of these men? I hope that I will people will remember me as a little bit more like Scott when it comes to that free spirit. They probably won't. I wish I were as fun as Scott. You know, he's just a delight. I mean, he makes me smile all the time. You know, he's just he's a sweetheart. He's funny. He's smart. He's you know, he just is a nice guy. And I really.

I love getting to know him. I know though, that I probably more similar to Ruble when it comes to, you know, just my approach to things. I don't know how to describe that. I'm more angsty. I'm more, you know, I probably have more anxiety, you know, than I should. I think again, that comes back to, was I taught to be a planner?

maybe and that's kind of the way I'm built. I do think there's a lot to be now granted I have a sociology degree too right so I have that slant but I do think that for me the nurture seems to be more important than the nature. Well I'll say this I think if people want to see the ruble side of Kendall they should observe you while you're at work and if they want to see the Scott side of Kendall they should see you after a few glasses of wine we start doing karaoke. This is true this is exactly true well I'm like both.

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man, when it comes to work ethic, like you, you see me, you, you know, have to stop me from, you know, working too much. I want to be respected for the work that I do. And I know I feel like I am. And I want it to continue to be that way. You know, you know, work should not be the be all end all I get that but I do take a lot of pride in what I do. And I actually want to make everybody proud of me by, you know, doing a good job. Now, what I could learn from Scott is

you know, exactly what you said, like when it's time to let loose, it's fun to, you know? And it's taken me a long time to get there. Yeah. Because I let go of the religious stuff a long time ago. And that, for me, was very freeing. I don't want to alienate any of our audience, but I'm not tied to the conservative upbringing that I had when it comes to social aspects of my life. Right. Yeah. Yeah. We love you, Dad.

This is the Family Twist podcast hosted by Kendall and Corey Stulce with original music by Cosmic Afterthoughts and produced by Outpost Productions and presented by Savoir Fair Marketing Communications. Have a story you wanna share? Visit FamilyTwistPodcast .com. All our social media links are there as well.